Baseball is back, and so is the unrelenting thunder that the Cubs can provide. We didn’t see much of it last year, but my goodness was it on display today. Bryant and Baez just smacked the Rangers around today, lets go to the video.
I don’t understand the thought process, but the Cubs decided to let Kris Bryant only play in one game today, so obviously they only won that one. That’s right, the dream of an undefeated season came to an end today as the Cubs could only take care of the Padres while losing to the Dodgers.
This one was an uphill battle from the jump as the Dodgers blitzed the Cubs for three quick runs in the bottom of the first off Christian Bergman. It didn’t get much better from there as Cubs’ pitchers combined to give up fourteen hits, and eleven runs over eight innings of work. To make things worse, the combo of Bergman, Kyle Ryan, Ian Clarkin, and Manuel Rondon walked six guys in six innings.
Not much better at the plate for the Cubs as they could only manage two runs on four hits in the loss. The lone bright spot at the plate was second baseman Trent Giambrone who went 2-for-4 with a double and his first home run of the spring.
A much better result at “home” against the Padres, as this Cubs team was led by the big lefty Jon Lester who made his spring debut. Lester was sharp, he walked the first guy he faced, allowed him to steal 2nd and 3rd then got out of trouble per usual. Lester worked two innings, allowing only one base-runner and striking out three. Working out of trouble was all the rage in this one as Brandon Kintzler, Brian Duensing, and Randy Rosario all worked scoreless innings despite heavy traffic on the bases.
A couple of loud noises from the Cubs hitters today. Willson Contreras, and Jared Young launched long home runs, a three run shot for Contreras and a two run dinger for Young. Kris Bryant was picked off first in this one which is the only time that he has made an out this spring, he finished the day with no official AB’s and two walks.
The 3-1 Cubs are back at it again tomorrow afternoon against the D-Backs when Yu Darvish will make his much anticipated 2019 debut.
One pitch, one loud noise, welcome to the 2018 championship season. Ian Happ decided to send that special first pitch of the season baseball into the right field stands to set the tone today. The Cubs’ bats were in midseason form as they cranked out three dingers en route to an 8-4 opening day victory. Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber supplied the rest of the power in this one as both launched solo shots.
Jon Lester didn’t have it, period. It looked like the velocity wasn’t there, and he found himself nibbling the zone way too often, looking a lot like Jon Lester circa 2017. I wouldn’t read too much into it, Lester typically starts slow and as Maddon said after the game the little extra finish on Lester’s pitches just wasn’t there today.
Aside from the power surge the strong work of the bullpen grabbed the rest of the headlines. Newcomer Steve Cishek was tremendous as he was forced into early duty when Lester couldn’t get out of the 4th (my Dad shakes his head in disgust). Cishek worked and inning and two-thirds giving up one hit while walking one, and striking out two. The bullpen combined to go five and two-third scoreless innings while giving up just one hit.
Good start. Welcome back, baseball.
Another night, and another close game, what else is new. Jon Lester turned in his best start of 2015, his only issue was Billy Hamilton who reached base twice, stole three bases, and scored twice. Other than that, Lester was brilliant as he struck out ten in his six innings of work. The Cubs were paced offensively by an Anthony Rizzo two run dinger, and a huge game tying solo shot by Chris Coghlan in the seventh. After watching Jason Motte get out of bases loaded trouble in the bottom of the tenth, Jonathan Herrera came up with a big hit in the eleventh. Herrera lined a base hit to right which scored Rizzo, got Bryant to third, and Herrera took second on the throw. Both of those guys scored on a bases loaded David Ross double which put this one out of reach.
Rizzo’s two run blast.
I’m so glad the Cubs didn’t cancel the season after Sunday, because that was fun. It was a pitchers day at Wrigley, but I’m not sure if 80 degrees and sun would have mattered as Jake Arrieta, and Lance Lynn were brilliant. Luckily for the Cubs, Arrieta was better, but not by much. Both guys were dealing, and the winning run came as a result of a hit batter, and a wild throw on a pick-off, go figure. After Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the 7th, and advanced to second on said wild pick-off, Starlin Castro delivered the game winning single, it was a super lazy single though…
Back to Arrieta, early on he didn’t have his best stuff as he had to battle through trouble in the first and third inning before settling into a groove. Arrieta worked seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking three, and striking out seven en route to his first win of the season. For the second straight game the Cubs bullpen displayed just how dangerous they could be, dangerous in a good way, not a Carlos Marmol way. Phil Coke, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon combined to pitch the last two innings with Rondon picking up his first save of the season.
No matter how the game is going right now, Cubs fans and players alike are just expecting the worst and once again the Cubs delivered. Rafael Dolis buried a 2-2 sinker into the ribs of the “dangerous” Matt Hague with the bases loaded to give the Pirates the win. Common theme during this streak and really the whole year, the Cubs never allow themselves to get beat, they beat themselves. Once again an opponent was trying to give up an out with a sac bunt in the ninth and Dolis couldn’t get a pitch close enough to the strike zone for the hitter to offer at it and he walked him. The inning would have been much different with McCutchen up with one out and a guy at second instead of 1st and 2nd and no outs. Anyway, Paul Maholm struggled with his command but battled his way through five innings in his return to Pittsburgh settling for a no decision. Alfonso Soriano was 1-for-4 at the plate with his 5th home run of the season, his solo shot brought the Cubs back to within one in the 4th inning. Starlin Castro was 1-for-4 at the plate as well with a big two-out RBI triple in the 5th inning to tie the game at two. Unfortunately for the Cubs they only managed six hits, and couldn’t string anything together, one thing they are good at stringing together is losses, the streak now sits at 11. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
On a day when a little leaguer, a small one, could have hit a ball out of Wrigley the Cubs managed no runs on five hits en route to their sixth straight loss. Not only that, but they were swept by the Sox at home, which is pretty much the low point of the season. The Cubs were outscored 15-6 in the series and really had no shot yesterday or today. Paul Maholm looked good early on but couldn’t keep the ball down the longer the game went, couple that with the wind blowing straight out and that equals a disaster. Maholm went 6 and 1/3rd while giving up five runs on nine hits, he was tagged with the loss which drops him to 4-3 on the season.
The Cubs approach at the plate was better, but still not good enough. Waytoo many times hitters are going to the plate with one thing on their mind, swing. It doesn’t matter if the pitch is a strike, the situation doesn’t matter either. Bryan LaHair had one of his better games in the last week as he went 1-for-2 with two walks, that was basically it. The Cubs left the bases loaded twice towards the end of the game which just made the outcome that much more aggravating. Dale Sveum said he will make some lineup changes moving forward because of the lack of offense, that’s all well and good, but if the Cubs approach doesn’t change neither will the outcome. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Another one of those weird games in St. Louis that featured the Cubs pounding out 14 hits, blowing a four run lead and then winning the game 6-4. The Cubs were spraying hits all over the field in the early innings but couldn’t get anything across the plate as they left seven guys on base through four innings. Ryan Dempster was strong once again going six innings and giving up four runs, all in the 6th after the Cardinals got a break on a David Freese check swing that wasn’t ruled as such. Shawn Camp got the win out of the bullpen and he deserved is after going two stellar innings, only surrendering one hit.
The Cubs were clicking at the plate as five different guys had multi-hit games. Starlin Castro was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a miserably failed sac bunt attempt late in the game, the Cubs won so I won’t go on about this. Bryan LaHair seems to be getting out of his funk as he went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI’s. The big hit of the night came from Alfonso Soriano who looped a base-hit into left field with two outs in the 8th to score the eventual winning run in Tony Campana. The Cubs go for the abbreviated sweep this afternoon. Full box score and highlights after the jump.